The Middle East Institute (MEI) hosted a discussion about the evolving role of Egypt's private sector and the emergence of new business models to meet the demands of sustainable development. Egyptian business leaders Said Hanafi (ORASCOM), Dina Sherif (The Center for Entrepreneurship, AUC) and Tarek Tawfik (Federation of Egyptian Industries) joined American attorney and investment adviser Samar Ali (Bone McAllester Norton PLLC) for an examination of the changing nature of private enterprise in Egypt.
Egypt's new generation of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders are increasingly prioritizing sustainable development, accountability, and responsible business practices as key tools for economic growth. The panel explained the drivers of change, the challenges that private business faces from the state, and how the U.S. government and business community can encourage the new trend.
Randa Fahmy moderated the discussion.
Attorney, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
Samar S. Ali concentrates her practice on cross-border transactions, international law, and private diplomacy. She is a member of the firm’s administrative law, business and corporate law, and international law practices. In 2010, Samar was selected for the White House Fellowship, a program established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to give young people the opportunity to work with the highest levels of the federal government and top-ranking officials to benefit their home communities. Immediately following her fellowship, she worked as an adviser to the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. and in Doha, Qatar. Samar is also an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches courses in international relations.
General Counsel, Orascom Development Group
Said Hanafi is the general counsel of the Orascom Development Group (ODH), one of the world’s largest international companies in the field of tourism and real estate. Hanafi oversees the legal work of the group across active destinations in nine different countries and was in charge a major restructuring of the group. He is also the vice chairman of Orascom Housing Communities (OHC), the largest Egyptian company specializing in the development of high quality affordable housing units and sustainable developments for low-income Egyptians. He represents Orascom Group as a board member of its companies involved in real estate development in Oman, Morocco, Jordan, and Montenegro and is vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt for Legal Affairs. Prior to joining Orascom Development Holding, he worked as an associate at the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency, a policy analyst at the OECD in Paris, and spent two years in London working as a corporate lawyer for the Middle East's largest steel producers.
CEO, Ahead of the Curve and Director, AUC Center for Entrepreneurship
Dina Sherif is committed to building sustainable societies through the application of a more ‘conscious’ form of capitalism. She cofounded Ahead of The Curve (ATC) together with Mohamed El-Kalla in 2012 to further that goal. As CEO of ATC, Dina is responsible for business strategy and business development, as well as overseeing all research-related activities within the firm. Dina also serves as an Advisor to the President of Egypt on economic development and is currently an Associate Professor of Practice, holding the endowed Willard Brown Chair for International Business at The American University in Cairo, where she is also Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. Dina comes from a background in economic development, strategic philanthropy and civil society development. She is the lead author of several key publications such as the book ‘From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy’, as well as several seminal reports, including a 7-country study on trends in responsible business practice in the Arab region and the 2016 UNDP Business Solutions Report.
Deputy Chairman, Federation of Egyptian Industries
Tarek Zakaria Tawfik is the deputy chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, and the manager director of Cairo Poultry. A leading figure in Egyptian private sector, he was frequently interviewed and consulted by media on the role of state of Egyptian private sector.
Former U.S. Associated Deputy Secretary of Energy and President, Fahmy Hudome International, LLC